Jun 20, 2018

EPA Soliciting Comments on BUILD Act

Dirty Warehouse: BUILD Act

The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to streamline the cleanup and reuse of National Priorities List sites with an emphasis on private party participation and private investment. NPL site designation was once a popular way for affected communities to secure federal funding for remediation, but the program has long suffered from lack of funding. Now, the Trump administration seeks to streamline the delisting of NPL sites in the same manner as the redevelopment of brownfields. One example of this initiative is the Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development (BUILD) Act, which was enacted on March 23, 2018, and reauthorizes EPA’s… Read more

Mar 13, 2018

Federal Court Rejects EPA Rule Delaying Formaldehyde Standards in Composite Wood Products

Formaldehyde Standards in Composite Wood Products

In the wake of illnesses reported by refugees from Hurricane Katrina who were housed temporarily in manufactured housing, Congress in 2010, in the Formaldehyde Standards in Composite Wood Products Act, required EPA to issue rules limiting formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products.  The Obama EPA took 6 years to issue the final rule, which required compliance with the new emissions limits by December 2017.  In September 2017, the Trump EPA issued a rule delaying compliance with the emissions limits until December 2018.  The delay rule was challenged by the Sierra Club and the New Orleans-based group A Community Voice.  Judge… Read more

Feb 6, 2018

EPA Must Consider Banning Drinking Water Flouridation

Drinking Water

A federal judge in California has ruled that EPA wrongly dismissed a petition to ban fluoridation of drinking water under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  Food & Water Watch, Inc. v. EPA, N.D. California, 12/21/2017.  The Petitioners sought a determination by EPA to ban the use of fluoride in drinking water.  EPA dismissed the petition because it sought only to ban a single use of a chemical, finding that Section 21 of TSCA requires that a Section 21 petition seek to ban all uses of a chemical, rather than a single use.  The Court disagreed, holding that the new… Read more

Jan 23, 2018

Supreme Court Rules Challenges to WOTUS Rule Must be Brought in District Court

Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule

In a unanimous decision issued on January 22, 2018, the Supreme Court held that challenges to the WOTUS Rule must be reviewed first in federal district court, reversing the Sixth Circuit’s ruling with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court’s decision results in a lift of the national stay of the WOTUS Rule ordered by the Sixth Circuit, which could make the Rule’s provisions enforceable, at least until another court issues a national stay of the Rule. In 2015, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers proffered a definition of the term “waters of the United States”… Read more

Jan 18, 2018

9th Circuit: EPA Must Update Its Lead Dust Standards

Lead Dust Clean Up

In another blow to the Administration’s deregulatory agenda, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled on December 27 that EPA has a non-discretionary duty to propose updates to its 2001 lead dust hazard standard.  The Court gave EPA 90 days to issue the proposal, and a year to finalize it.  Community Voice, et al v. EPA (9th Circuit, Dec. 27, 2017).  The Court’s 2-1 decision rejected the Administration’s argument that its only duty under the law was to issue the original standards in 2001, and that the decision whether to update the standards was within the agency’s discretion.  Instead,… Read more

Aug 28, 2017

EPA Proposes Revisions to Environmental Site Assessments for Timber Property

Tractor hauling timber on forestland property

On June 20, 2017, EPA published notice of its intent to take direct final action to amend the Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries (“AAI”) to reference ASTM International’s recently revised E2247-16, Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process for Forestland or Rural Property, and allow for its use to satisfy the statutory requirements for conducting AAI under CERCLA.  The proposed amendment would update and replace the current reference to the 2008 ASTM Standard, E2247-08, in the AAI rule found in 40 CFR 312.  The new rule was to become effective on September 18,… Read more